Reporting Jack Fink
FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – The fight between a Frisco company and the city has come down to health, the environment and jobs.
On Tuesday night Frisco leaders debated whether Exide Technology can go ahead with a $20 Million plan to reduce lead emissions at its battery recycling plant.
The company wanted to turn the clock back nearly 50 years and operate under old zoning laws, but ultimately the city said no.
For the first time, numerous employees at Exide Technologies Frisco battery recycling plant came to city hall in an intensifying legal battle with the city.
Employees like Rick Connor, who has worked at the plant for 13 years. “We’re fighting for our jobs.”
He and 60 others, about half the employees at the plant, are worried about their jobs because the city is delaying permits the company needs to come into compliance with federal air quality standards for lead.
Exide wants the city to allow it to operate under the same zoning laws from back in 1964 when the plant opened.
Many Frisco residents, including Eileen Canavan say it’s time for the city to shut down the plant. “In 1964, Frisco was a desolate, very low population city, we’re not that anymore.”
The city planning and zoning commission denied Exide’s request, forcing them to operate under current zoning laws.
The company vows it will appeal, and may sue the city.
Employee Melvin Bruce doesn’t understand why there’s conflict. “We all need our jobs, and I wish they would understand that.”
Frisco resident and father of two Matt Vonderahe sees it differently. “My heart goes out to anybody who’s job may be impacted by this but this is bigger than anyone person’s job. This is a public health issue.”
Frisco mayor Maher Maso says public health and safety will always be the city’s top priority.
Exide has 14 days to appeal to the city council. Many expect the company will eventually take the city to court.